Sharp, aged, farm-style Cheddar cheeses, white or yellow, are best for these biscuits. Yellow cheddar will give the biscuits a deeper golden color.
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup shortening or butter, cut into dice
- ¾ cup cold milk
- 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400° F. Soak the fennel seeds in warm water for 15 minutes, then drain and dry on paper towels.
- Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut the shortening or butter into the flour until the mixture is the consistency of coarse cornmeal. Make a well in this mixture.
- Add the milk, cheese and fennel seeds, mixing with a fork just until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead gently 5 to 6 times. Do not overwork the dough. Roll the dough out into a ½-inch-thick rectangle; using a 2-inch round cutter, cut the dough into biscuits.
- Place the biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet approximately 1 inch apart and bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.
Preparation Notes: Placing the biscuits 1 inch apart on the baking sheet will produce biscuits that have crisp-sided crust. For softer-sided biscuits, place them in a square baking pan with the sides nearly touching. The total baking time will increase by 5 to 10 minutes. Pull the biscuits apart to serve.
Serving Suggestions: Spread some mustard on split biscuits and add some slivers of country-style ham or smoked turkey breast for a wonderful accompaniment to drinks.